Urologists are doctors with medical degrees who have completed numerous years of education and training. They specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases, disorders, injuries, and deformities of male reproductive organs, as well as both genders’ urinary tracts.
A urologist is a surgeon who conducts operations, and performs various other treatments, with the use of medical equipment like lasers, X-rays, fluoroscopes, radium emanation tubes, and catheters. Procedures are performed on the bladder, kidneys, prostate, uterus, urethra, and adrenal glands.
It is common for urologists to spend most of their time in private practice, providing consultation and outpatient services; and two or three days a week at a hospital, performing surgery.
A substantial investment of money and time is required to become qualified to practice. Rewards come in the form of a high salary. The average urologist reportedly earned more than $184,000 in 2012.
Urologist Job Description
Urologists consult with patients, conduct tests and make assessments to arrive at diagnoses, and perform surgical and noninvasive procedures. They do major operations like nephrectomies and transurethral prostate resections. Surgery also entails removing cancerous tissue, and treating other diseases and disorders. More minor procedures include biopsies, vasectomies, and cystoscopies.
These specialists treat cancer, kidney stones, prostate enlargement, infertility, impotence, incontinence, and infections. The seven subspecialties are oncology (the treatment of cancer), calculi (dealing primarily with kidney stones), infertility, female urology, neurourology, renal transplants, and pediatrics.The urologist job description includes:
- Understand how to use all necessary medical equipment, and know sanitation and sterilization techniques;
- Interview patients to determine their complaints and symptoms, discern their overall condition, and learn their medical history;
- Conduct assessments and diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the symptoms;
- Determine treatment methods, and discuss with patients the potential benefits and risks;
- Schedule time, space, and staff for surgery and other procedures;
- Line up equipment and supplies for operations;
- Conduct surgical procedures and other treatments in accordance with accepted methods;
- Consult with patients following operations and treatments, and recommend postoperative care;
- Create and maintain patient records;
- Obtain continuing education in the field;
- If operating a private practice, perform business duties involving finance, administration, management, and marketing.
Urology is a complex field, and treating patients with disorders of the reproductive system and urinary tract can be challenging. These physicians must not only have a deep understanding of the human body, but also be experts in sophisticated medical equipment and complicated procedures.
As the profession involves surgery, excellent eye-hand coordination and attention to detail are crucial. Physical stamina is needed to stand through lengthy operations.
Doctors should have a good bedside manner with patients, providing reassurance while projecting confidence and strength. They must be good listeners who can show empathy and provide support. Good communication skills are need for dealing with medical and administrative staff. as well.
The stress can be severe. Surgeons are under a lot of pressure to not make any mistakes. They must be able to perform efficiently under these conditions. The working hours can be long, and a urologist may be on call in the middle of the night.
A student striving to become a urologist must complete many years of education and training. The first step is to obtain a bachelor’s degree from a college, which takes three or four years. Majors in science are recommended for those planning to be doctors. Biology and chemistry are popular choices.
Getting high grades, and performing well on tests, as an undergraduate student makes it easier to get accepted by an accredited, four-year medical school. Competition for spaces in their programs is often fierce.
Following medical school, a residency of at least five years is required. This five-year post-graduate surgical training period is comprised of a minimum of 12 months in general surgery, 36 months in clinical urology, and the remaining 12 months in a discipline relevant to urology. After completing residency, some urologists may choose to further train in a sub-specialty area of expertise through an additional 12-36 month fellowship.
To practice urology, a doctor must be certified by the American Board of Urology. To get the certificate, an applicant must pass a qualifying exam, complete 16 months of clinical practice, and then pass an oral exam. Continuing education and other actions are required to maintain certification.
The final step is to obtain a state-issued license to practice urology. Each state’s medical-licensing board maintains a website with information about how to apply.
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Urologist Job Description SummaryHere is a short recap of the urologist job description:
- Diagnose and treat urinary tract disorders
- Work with other physicians and specialists
- 4 year bachelor’s degree
- 4 year medical school program
- 5 additional years of residency program
- Must be licensed to practice
- 18% employment growth by 2022